Syndicate content

#TCdata360

Watch the Growth of Trade country-level data availability in TCdata360

Reg Onglao's picture

Note: This is the first blog of a series of blog posts on data availability within the context of TCdata360, wherein each post will focus on a different aspect of data availability.

With open data comes missing data. We know that all indicators are not created equal and some are better covered than others. Ditto for countries in which coverage can range from near universal such as the United States of America to very sparse indeed such as Saint Martin (French part).

TCdata360 is no exception. While our data spans across over 200 countries and 2000+ indicators, our data suffers from some of the same gaps as many other datasets do: uneven coverage and quality. With that basic fact in mind, we have set about exploring what our data gaps tell us — we have 'data-fied' our data gaps so to speak.

In the next few blogs we'll explore our data gaps to identify any patterns we can find within the context of the TCdata360 platform[1] — which countries and regions throw up surprises, which topics are better covered than others, which datasets and indicators grow more 'fashionable' when, and the like. In this first blog, we’ll look at data availability at the country level.

Tracing the roots of TCdata360 datasets: an interactive network graph

Reg Onglao's picture

When doing data analysis, it's common for indicators to take the spotlight whereas datasets usually take the backseat as an attribution footnote or as a metadata popup.

However, we often forget how intertwined dataset sources are and how this affects data analysis. For instance, we can never assume that indicators from different datasets are mutually exclusive – it's possible for them to be the same indicator or to have an influence on the other as a component weight in an index, if the other dataset were used as a source for the other.

In this blog, we're interested to see if this applies to TCdata360 by taking a deeper look at its "dataset genealogy" and answer questions such as – Is it safe to do cross-dataset analysis using TCdata360 datasets? Are there interesting patterns in the relationships between TCdata360 datasets?

Quick introduction to network graphs

We call a dataset which serves as a data source for another dataset as "source", and a dataset which pulls indicator data from another as "target". Collectively, all of these are called "nodes".

To see the relationships between TCdata360 datasets, we mapped these in a directed network graph wherein each dataset is a node. By directed, we mean that source nodes are connected to their target nodes through an arrow, since direction is important to identify source from target nodes. For the purposes of this blog, we restricted the network graph to contain datasets within TCdata360 only; thus, all data sources and targets external to TCdata360 will not be included in our analysis.

Here's how the network graph looks like.

Each dataset is represented by a circle (aka "node") and is grouped and color-coded by data owner or institution. The direction from any source to target node is clearer in the interactive version, wherein there's a small arrow on the connecting line which shows the direction from target to source.

New! On demand, curated data reports from TCdata360

Reg Onglao's picture

Say you want a snapshot on digital entrepreneurship in Tunisia, or you are trying to understand tourism trends in Mexico. You'll probably need to identify 30-50 relevant indicators, dig up the data, create a presentable format, and hope that you have organized the report the way an expert well-versed in the topic might. Yes, it can be very difficult to put together a report that gives you reliably sourced, current, and properly structured information on the topic you are interested in.

Fear not — help is at hand! On TCdata360, we offer you country-level reports on demand on a number of topics (tourism, gender, entrepreneurship, investment climate … and the list is growing). All you have to do is to go to our Reports section (tcdata360.worldbank.org/reports), choose your country and topic, and you're done — the site will give you a beautifully laid out report that you can share online or print and take to your next meeting.

Introducing TCdata360's thematic reports

The TCdata360 platform (tcdata360.worldbank.org) is a new open data initiative launched by the World Bank, which provides quick access to over 2000 trade and competitiveness indicators from over 40 international sources.

We shared a few ideas about improving data access and usability with you in an earlier blog post and one demand that kept emerging was to help people make sense of thousands of cross-cutting indicators, and communicate these insights in a simple, portable way. One of the ideas we came up with are these on demand reports. We have worked with subject matter experts to curate TCdata360 indicators and visualize them within the constraints of a two-pager country thematic report that are relevant to both experts trying to quickly gather reliable data, and to beginners exploring new topics.

From open data to a collaborative community – looking ahead with TCdata360

Prasanna Lal Das's picture
TCdata360: Your Source for Open Trade and Competitiveness Data


It’s now been about a month since the Trade & Competitiveness Global Practice of the World Bank Group launched TCdata360, our new platform for open trade and competitiveness data from the Bank and external sources. The initial response has been overwhelmingly positive, and it has included a mixture of the anticipated and the unexpected.

Egypt has been the most popular country page during this period, the indicator on the number of days to start a business has been the second most visited page (though it seems to be ceding its spot to the page on venture capital availability) and we have been struck by the number of people that have searched for information on countries that have laws against sexual harassment in the work place (it’s steadily been one of the top 10 most visited pages on the site). Our data stories have attracted attention as well, especially in social media and there has been consistent interest in the API.

The question now is: Where should we take TCdata360 from here? How does a platform grow after the initial excitement around its release has dissipated? How can you or your organization contribute to the growth of the platform?

Here are a few of our ideas at the moment:
 
  • More data – we have a growing inventory of new datasets.
  • Better user experience – we are tweaking several things, while keeping what people like (which is most of the site).
  • More analytics – we have experimented with Datascoper, a tool to uncover hidden patterns in data, but work remains to make these tools more usable and meaningful.
  • Better engagement with our users – we want to show off your work on the site. Tell us about the insightful work you do using our data; we will share it with all our users. And we are all ears about your ideas for other ways to collaborate.
  • Continue contributing to the open data community – we plan to offer data literacy and other support; stay tuned for greater emphasis on applied data; we are working to make this and other data truly useful in an applied sense to governments, the private sector, and others.
  • Better linkages with the open source world – we built the site on open source and want to share our work with the community; we are constantly looking for tools that we can either integrate into the site or that we should be using. Tell us about them.


Help us improve our list – write us at tcdata@worldbank.org or tweet us at #TCdata360.